Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Broke Girls Beauty Digest

For anyone who knew me pre-motherhood, they could tell you the massive amounts of cosmetics I owned and the great debts I took on.  Money was no object. Nine years later, I still have a weakness for products way too expensive for me and am not always successful in controlling my weakness.  However, I am also more diligent in trying to find affordable replacement products.  For those of you who have swapped out your Prada bags for diaper bags, extravagant mall purchases for mortgage mayhem, and anyone finding themselves drifting closer to the "have nots", this list is for you.

Beauty Buys to Try under $10
  • Lipgloss:  Avon
    • Great dose of color and shine. Silky smooth lipgloss at an unbeatable price.
    • Great dose of color and shine. Silky smooth lipgloss at an unbeatable price. Although these retail around $6, most of the time you find them on sale, sometimes as low as $2.  The shades do change occasionally, so be open to trying new shades.
  • Lipbalm: C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Lip Balm
    • C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Lip Balm - No. 303
    • Sold in Bath & Body Works stores, this was the first lipbalm I turned to when I needed to cut expenses.  At only $7.50, it's not called my favorite lip balm for nothing.  With moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and vitamin E, this balm is wonderful.  If you're looking for a balm in a tin, try Lush None of your Beeswax (my new find).
  • Mascara:  Cover Girl Lash Blast
    • LashBlast Volume Mascara
    • Of all beauty products, mascara is the one thing that gets me up in arms.  There are just way too many options out there, even I get overwhelmed. On Cover Girl's website, there are 25 versions alone.  Nevertheless, I do like the fat brush and the volume this mascara delivers.  At under $7, its worth a shot.
  • Eyeshadow:  Ulta and NYX
    • ULTAEyeshadow                 LOOSE PEARL EYE SHADOW
    • I stumbled upon Ulta back in grad school.  Not only do they offer an enormous range of shades, they have decent pigmentation and you get alot of product.  And for a girl on a budget, these seem to almost always be on sale.  Currently, they are buy 2 get 2 free (you can also mix and match other ulta products).  That's 4 eyeshadows for $14.
    • If you like loose pigments, try NYX.  Surprisingly inexpensive at $3 and great quality.
    • If you use eyeliner, I haven't found a cheaper one that I like.  The few I've tried tend to feel like they are dragging across my eyelids (ouch).  Instead, you can use a wet/dry eyeshadow (some are labelled for wet use others you can try it) and an angled shadow brush.  Wet the brush, slightly not dripping, and gather some of the shadow on it to draw on a line at the waterline.  You can build this line to be as thin or thick as you like it.  You can also make it as defined or blended as you like.  Try it.  If you find an alternative, do tell.
  • Foundation:  Sorry girls?
    • This is one product where I say you may need to splurge.  I have tried Cover Girl, L'Oreal, and Revlon.  And none of them did I desire to purchase again.  I almost had a match with Revlon, until I started breaking out (they apparently don't make that product anymore).  I think there is nothing like being able to try out foundation at the beauty counter, wear it for a few hours, and then make a decision.  That way you'll know how it wears on your skin and how it looks in natural light.  If you still want a drugstore brand, there are lots of options out there...powders, liquids, mousses, the list goes on.  
  • Nail Polish: Ulta, Sally Hansen, Rimmel
    • ULTASalon Formula Nail Lacquer Hard As Nails Extreme Wear Nail ColorLasting Finish Pro Nail Lacquer
    • Ok, I couldn't pick just one.  Each of these brands is around $3.  All three have a good selection of colors and lasts a decent amount of time.  I've had a manicure last about a week and a pedicure last a month (not that I usually let it last that long).  Do use a topcoat, ensuring to cover the tip of the nail for the longest wear.  You can also buy products such as Essie and OPI, great products for around $8.  For some reason, nail polish is the one product I refuse to pay more than $3 for.  There are too many decent, but cheaper options.  If you find a great deal on the more expensive ones, let a junkie know.
The next time you're in Ulta, Walmart, Target or wherever you buy your inexpensive beauty products, pick up one of my favs and tell me know what you think.  
the lipgloss junkie

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beauty Tour Digest: Field Trip # 2

In case you're following my journey to becoming an esthetician, here's my review of the 'trip' we took to Lenox and Perimeter malls.  Read on to find out a little about each company, some key ingredients, and some items that have been added to my ever-growing shopping list.

  1. MAC Store
    1. The MAC store has always amazed me because of the vast array of vivid colors present in their product line, not that they don’t have great neutrals.  Come to find out those vivid colors are the exact reason the company came to be.  The 2 Franks started MAC so that pigments would pop and show up in photos.  Because the staff were so helpful and willingly to share their knowledge, I was able to find out about several products.  First in the Prep & Prime line, I explored both the Skin and Lip Primers.  In both instances, one of the main ingredients is silicone, which acts as a filler of sorts by ensuring an even application of other products.  It creates a breathable and silky barrier, thus allowing for longer wear of products applied subsequently, such as lipstick or foundation.  Vitamin E was also an included ingredient, which helps to reduce water loss from the skin and also reduces the formation of free radicals.  If you’re looking for a longer wearing eye-shadow, you could use the Paint Pots.  They can be used alone or as a primer for shadow and supposedly won’t crease and last all day.  While in the store, I also found a new lipgloss to try when I receive my MAC Pro Card.
    2.  Paint Pot Prep + Prime Skin
  2. Aveda Store
    1. Aveda is a beauty company that aims to connect the environment with beauty.  They pride themselves on using plant-based products, instead of chemicals.  Their products are paraben-free (no carcinogenic preservatives).  Aveda is environmentally responsible in that they use post-recycled packaging and do not perform any testing on animals.  They also support fair trade.  In the Nourish-Mint lipstick line, you will find pomegranate, which has antioxidants and vitamin B, and is used to repair the epidermis of the lips.  It also contains spearmint oil, which according to the salesperson is to keep the lips hydrated, however, other sources indicate that spearmint could be considered an irritant in products.  In the Uruku lip pigment line, the uruku plant from Brazil is used for its bright red, naturally derived pigment.  It also contains annato oil to add moisture and smoothness.  In the Smoothing Body Polish, it contains lavendar extract to soothe and relax and kelp and aloe (water-binding agents) to moisturize.  It is meant to reveal smoother skin after use.
    2. Smoothing Body PolishUruku Lip Pigment
  3. Lush Cosmetics Store
    1. This was my first time ever hearing of Lush and I found that I was very intrigued with the concept.  Like Aveda, Lush is also an environmentally responsible company, but with less of an air of pretentiousness.  They take pride in the fact that their products are handmade and even go to the extent of putting the picture of the person who made it on some of the larger packaging (what better way to tell an employee you appreciate them).  Lush, based in the UK, was founded by a trichologist and beautician.  This store is full of intriguing products, such as the Charity Pot,  a hand and body lotion made of cocoa butter and almond oil (for their moisturizing properties), and ylang ylang (to add fragrance).  100% of the purchase price goes toward the Charity Pot fund to help charities around the world.  For the first time, I’ve seen powder deodorants.  They are aluminum-free and include essential oils and fragrances.  They are baking soda based and preservative free.  Just remember that they are a tad messy and are not anti-perspirants.  I’ll definitely be making a trip back to Lush, especially since I am loving the None of Your Beeswax lip balm.
    2. Charity Pot None of your Beeswax
  4. Bare Escentuals
    1. Appearing as an upscale boutique, Bare Escentuals is a line of mineral makeup that is ‘good’ for the skin.  The original foundation consisted of only 5 ingredients:  bismuth oxychloride (pearlescent compound that adheres to the skin well), titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (sunscreens), iron oxides (provides coloring), and mica (gives sparkle and shine).  The Prime Time primer is preservative-free, oil-free, fragrance-free, allergy tested, and dermatology tested.  Containing vitamins C and E, it is meant to create a smooth and even surface, on which to apply foundation.
    2. Prime Time Foundation Primer ORIGINAL SPF 15 Foundation
  5. Carol’s Daughter
    1. What is there not to like about an African-American owned brand that is being heralded in magazines and by celebrities?  This shop has a more cozy feel to it, as if to make you feel right at home.  The staff was very knowledgeable and took the time to demonstrate the products.  The products that stood out to me the most was the Acai Clarifying Exfoliating Toner and the Almond Cookie Lotion.  The toner contains meadowsweet, a plant extract with anti-inflammatory properties to exfoliate the skin, and witch hazel and acai, both antioxidants to tone and reduce the signs of aging, respectively.  The lotion contains sweet marzipan, tonka bean, and warm vanilla to create the luscious scent.  It also contains vitamin E to protect against aging, coconut and grapeseed oils to balance moisture, and shea and cocoa butters to moisturize.
      1. Balancing Facial Toner
  6. Sephora
  7. Last stop, Sephora is like the Target of beauty stores (a little more classy than Walmart).  It showcases a plethora of high-end cosmetics and skincare lines, in addition to its own product line.  It allows the opportunity to comparison shop, you will most likely end up with an array of shades and textures slathered across your arm/hand.  Browsing through Sephora takes some time, but it is definitely exciting.  I was finally able to touch the Nars Orgasm blush and subsequent line of products.  Now I truly understand why its the go-to blush that matches everyone’s skin tone.  I was also intrigued by the Multiple by Nars...great concept to have an all in one product that glides on like a cream, but dries like a powder.  Lastly, I did check out Sephora’s own lipgloss and was pleasantly surprised at how silky they are in texture and how affordable they are.SEPHORA COLLECTION - Glossy GlossNARS - The MultipleNARS - Blush
  8. Wrap-Up
    1. All in all, it was a lipgloss junkie’s dream field trip.  I came away with great product knowledge, an introduction to a new brand, and still had money in my wallet. Score!

happy shopping,
the lipgloss junkie

Note:  All pictures are from the respective stores websites, thus I didn't grant Bare Escentuals any awards.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Just Call Me Mom

Parents are unsung heroes.  Beyond fulfilling the basic necessities of life (ie. food, clothing, shelter), parents do so much more to ensure our children have fun-filled childhoods, are exposed to culture, and learn to appreciate and care for other people.  We make sure we sign our kids up for meaningful activities and spend countless hours shuttling back and forth to dance recitals, cheer practices, swim meets, and dramatic reading competitions.  We are constantly spending our weekends at Chuck E. Cheese or Monkey Joe's, bouncing from one birthday party to another, even though costumed grown-ups is not in our definition of fun.  We spend money, sometimes that was meant for bills, on making sure every birthday and Christmas is better than the last.  We clean crayon off walls and sometime furniture, stay up all hours of the night nursing a 100 degree fever, and still find time to play tooth fairy (who in my house, although usually stuck in fairy traffic, writes notes). We do all of this, often neglecting our spouses and ourselves. 

To those without children, we probably look crazy.  But to parents, we're only doing our jobs.  And like many jobs, we don't always get accolades.  No gold stars, no bonuses, no promotions.  But it still all pays off.  As I have been navigating dealing with a pre-pubescent girl and trying to teach her to be her best, tonight I think I had a breakthrough.  She told me that I was one of her heroes.  Her reason was because, "You keep pushing me to be my best, even when I don't want to be.  But I know, in the end, that it's for the best."  As I was driving, the tears started rolling, though I didn't let her see.  She's actually been listening to what I say.  You see being a chauffeur, when often times I just want to lay in the bed and watch SATC re-runs, has its advantages.  Not only does my child get to have great experiences with her peers, but we have an ongoing repertoire of things to talk about.  Lessons to be shared, comparisons made of how alike we really are, and discussions of how we can always be better.  So, while I am overjoyed that my daughter sees me as a hero, I don't need that title.  The title of MOM fits me perfectly.

the lipgloss junkie

Makeup Forever Wonderland

Saturday, I went on my first field trip to the Makeup Forever Road Show at the W Hotel Midtown Atlanta.  Can you guess how excited I was?  For those wondering, this was a free event meant for networking, attending classes, watching demonstrations, and of course sampling and hopefully buying Makeup Forever goods.  We were there to see a red carpet beauty demonstration by AJ Crimson.  I found it fascinating to listen to an industry professional talk about some of his tricks of the trade and to watch the transformations take place.  It always amazes me to read or hear about the different ways artists create a look.  Makeup artistry is just  Each artist has their own way of wielding their brush (or hand or sponge or whatever they're using) and using a variety of mediums (creams, powders, gels, etc.) to transform and/or beautify. Note:  While I love makeup used for beauty, I have the utmost respect for special fx artists.  Needless to say, I was in a wonderland.  My hands were covered in eyeshadow, blush, and lipgloss of course.  And by the way, the new Aqua Rouge lipstick is awesome.  It looks like a lipgloss, applies like a lipstick, but has the staying power of a stain (literally, I couldn't get it off with just a wipe).  And comes in some beautiful shades.  I also loved the Aqua Cream eyeshadows.  They are highly pigmented, creamy in texture, and long wearing.  Because they dry quickly, you would probably want to start with a small amount and then layer to get the look you want.  Anyway, I have a ton of items on my shopping list (unfortunately, I didn't budget any money to take with me...epic fail).  All in all, I had a wonderful time.  The only complaint I have is the amount I paid for parking. Doesn't the hotel know that the $11 would have paid for a lipgloss!

Red Carpet Beauty

the lipgloss junkie